13 June 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
President Donald Trump’s deal with Chinese vendor ZTE could be blocked by his Republican allies in the US Senate – as well as their Democrat opponents.
Senators from both parties have passed an amendment to the
National Defense Authorization Act to put the denial order back
into operation, after it was withdrawn last
The US Department of Commerce (DoC) issued its denial order
against ZTE, banning it from using any US-made hardware or
software in the equipment it sells around the world. The DoC
found in 2016 that ZTE was smuggling equipment to Iran, in
contravention of a US embargo.
Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, told reporters: "ZTE said
they couldn’t remain in business, or at least not
remain anything other than a cell phone hand-held business, if
the denial order from March was in effect. And this would
essential put the denial order back into effect."
The amendment would reinstate the denial order, effectively
putting ZTE out of business.
Chuck Schumer, who leads the Democrats in the Senate, said:
"The fact that a bipartisan group of senators came together
this quickly is a testament to how bad the Trump
administration’s ZTE deal is and how we will not
shy away from holding the president’s feet to the
fire when it comes to keeping his promise to be tough on
The way the Senate has passed this amendment means that
– if the bill is then passed by the House of
Representatives – Trump has no option but to accept it
in full, including the amendment, or veto it all.